ChapStick is a brand name for lip balm manufactured by Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, used in the United States, Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom. It is intended to help treat and prevent chapped lips; hence the name. Many varieties also include SPF 15 sunscreen in order to prevent sunburn.
Due to ChapStick's popularity, the term has become a genericized trademark, used to refer to any lip balm contained in a lipstick-style tube and applied in the same manner as lipstick. However, the term is still a registered trademark, with rights exclusively owned by Wyeth. In the United Kingdom the product's main competitor is Lipsyl which is distributed in similar packaging.
ChapStick comes in several different varieties, each with its own flavor and stylized applicators. Various formulations include the Classics, Moisturizers, Medicated, Flava-Craze, Overnight, and All-Natural.
Chapstick is sometimes available in special flavors developed in connection with marketing partners such as Disney (as in cross-promotions with Winnie the Pooh or the movie Cars) or with causes, such as Breast Cancer Awareness, in which 30¢ is donated for each stick sold, (as in the "Susan G. Komen Pink Pack"). The "Flava-Craze" line is marketed to children, with colorful applicators and "fun" flavors such as "Grape Craze," "Blue Crazeberry," and "Watermelon Splash."
Any given ChapStick may contain camphor, beeswax, menthol, petrolatum, phenol, Vitamin E, and aloe. ChapStick Original contains the controversial ingredient Oxybenzone. However, there are hundreds of variants of ChapStick, each with its own composition. Hundreds of generic lipbalms also exist, each with their own varieties and flavors, meaning there are several thousand Chapstick and Chapstick-like products available to consumers.
"Medicated" varieties also contain analgesics to relieve sore lips.
In the early 1870s, Dr. Charles Browne Fleet, a physician and pharmacological tinkerer from Lynchburg, Virginia, invented ChapStick as a lip balm. The handmade product, which resembled a wickless candle wrapped in tin foil, was sold locally, but did not have much success.
In 1912, John Morton, also a Lynchburg resident, bought the rights to the product for five dollars. In their family kitchen, Mrs. Morton melted the pink ChapStick mixture, cooled it, and cut in into sticks. Their lucrative sales were used to found the Morton Manufacturing Corporation.
In 1963, The A.H. Robins Company acquired ChapStick from Morton Manufacturing Corporation. At that time, only ChapStick Lip Balm regular stick was being marketed to consumers; subsequently, many more varieties have been introduced. This includes ChapStick flavored sticks in 1971, ChapStick Sunblock 15 in 1981, ChapStick Petroleum Jelly Plus in 1981, and ChapStick Medicated in 1992. Picabo Street is commonly seen on television commercials as one of the company's endorsers.
ChapStick tubes with hidden microphones played a role in the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s.